Tea Giving: Day 2 (Assam)

pearl_AssamCup

 

Thank you Robert.

Chances are you’ve had Assam Tea at some point during your tea drinking adventures. If you haven’t tasted it as a single origin black tea, you’ve most surely had it in a blend. Most commonly an English, Irish or Scottish Breakfast blended tea. Of the 3 more common Indian/Sri Lankan classics (Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling) – Assam is my favorite. I drink it daily and fully admit to it being a slight addiction. (Ok… maybe more than slight.)

Assam is a black tea grown and named after the Assam region which is located in upper Northeast India and borders Bhutan.  It’s mostly grown at or near sea level and is known for its body, maltiness, color and sometimes complex fruity, almost jam-like notes. This area of India (the state of Assam) is the world’s largest tea-growing region. Its known for high moisture/precipitation and during monsoon season its not uncommon for there to be 10-12″ of rain or more per day.

Daytime temperature are typically around 97˚F – which creates extremely humid conditions – much like a hothouse/greenhouse. It’s because of this very humid/tropical climate that Assam gets its signature malty taste for which it is known.

It’s specifically made from Camellia Sinensis Assamica which is the same plant used in the Yunnan Province/region of China. It’s no wonder I love this tea. Aside for my lust for Assam, I’m obsessed with many teas from the Yunnan region. Teas like Golden Monkey, Yunnan Golden Tips and Golden Monkey are high on my list for coveting.

It seems there are two Scottish Roberts (Robert Bruce and Robert Fortune) to whom we owe gratitude for changing tea history with the discovery (and/or stealing in the case of the later Robert) of a single plant: Tea.

So thank you Robert Bruce, the Scottish adventurer (not the Outlaw King) for “opening the door to the great Assam tea industry’ in 1823 when he stumbled across the wild tea plant growing in that region.

 

Indian ASSAM golden tips tea isolated
Indian Assam Black Tea with golden tips

Our current Assam is Organic and a beauty. I’m often asked what tea would I chose for a satisfying, classic breakfast black. My answer is always: Assam. Though our Breakfast blend, Darjeeling and new Keemun Mao Feng are divine specimens in their own right, it is Assam that holds the key to my heart. I’ve rarely had anyone come back after my Assam suggestion and say that it “wasn’t their cuppa tea.”  It holds up well to invasion (cream and sugar) but is glorious in its natural state without any embellishments. Highly recommend. Brewed at around 2 minutes seems to be the right timing for my tastebuds. Give it a shot and see what works for you.

I could go on and on like the TeaNerd that I am about my love of Assam, trying to convince you that its one fine black tea, but instead I’ll just offer this Code: TeaGiving2 so you can take 25% OFF on Day 2 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving to see if it turns into TeaLove for you as well.

Happy Sipping!
– The Chief Leaf

 

 

 

Tea Giving: Day 2 (Assam)

A Tea Journey to Sri Lanka and South India

map_indiaI’ve traveled a good bit over the years touching down in places like Southern Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean and now it appears that I will have the pleasure of visiting India and Sri Lanka. I am thrilled!

Having been invited by Pearl Dexter, Editor of Tea. A Magazine to join her and 6 others for a private tour of the tea estates and gardens in both countries, I must say the excitement is hard to contain. Those participating in this wonderful tour include: Pearl Dexter; Cynthia Gold, Tea Sommelier, Boston Park Plaza Hotel; her husband Julian; Danielle Beaudette, Owner/The Cozy Tea Cart; Judy Larkin, The Larkin Tea Company; Carol Sims, Tea Embassy; her husband Bob; and myself.

I am so looking forward to exploring the estates in Sri Lanka and the  Nilgiri region of Southern India.Though the idea of a 24 hour flight out of JFK less then thrills me, I’ve no doubt what awaits will be magical. I can’t wait to sip of cup of freshly produced tea!

Our group will leave the US on April 16th and return on the 25th. My hope is to blog, twitter and facebook while I am there, but that will require the leap over to AT&T and the wonderful iPhone. I cant wait!

I hope to bring back a ton of stories along with a fresh crop of teas from both countries! Below is a bit of info on both regions:

tea-estates-in-nilgiri1Nilgiri: South India’s Nilgiri means “blue mountain.” Started in the 19th century. 2nd largest tea producing area after Assam. Especially teas produced in altitude regions of over 1,600m surrounded by plants like eucalyptus or cypress trees, are known internationally as “fragrant teas” and highly recognized by their special flavors.

plantation2Sri Lanka: Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka, is considered the best tea in the world. The influence of climatic conditions of its plantation imparts to the product a variety of flavors and aromas, synonymous with quality. Why is Ceylon Tea considered unique? The diversity in flavor – something that other tea producing countries do not have. Teais = grown in six agro climatic regions, each region giving its own flavor profile to the tea grown in it. There are six regions for tea in Sri Lanka: Uva, Nuwara eliya, Udapussellawa, Kandy, Dimbulla and Ruhuna. The tea sectosr in Sri Lanka have always been a vital component of her economy. It is also the country’s largest employer providing employment both directly and indirectly to over one million people. It also contributes a significant amount to Government revenue and to the gross domestic product.

Happy Sipping!

A Tea Journey to Sri Lanka and South India